Saturday, April 30, 2005

God Bless you Airboss

A friend of mine that I never met; a guy I talked to on the phone, shared email and forum conversations with; a man who offered me his advice, and his assistance; and who I was planning to visit later this year...

A good man died yesterday.

Steve Herod, known to the Nation of Riflemen as Airboss, host and owner of "Area .45"; and a damned fine gentleman died of a massive heart attack on his home/ranch (what exactly do you call acreage without crops or range animals?) near Houston Friday afternoon.

You can read some more detail here at KimDuToit.com ; and at Smoke on the Water

All I can think is, at least he dide living the way he wanted to. He made his own choices, and controlled his own destiny.

The last time I talked to him on the phone was a few weeks back; when things were looking pretty dark on the employment front. We were talking about the bullshit he had put up with in his career(s) and how he decided he was going to do things HIS way, so he just up and did it.

That was Steve to me right there. I just wish I'd had the time to get to know him better.

It may be cheezy but whenever someone I know dies, I think of this righteous brothers song, "Rock and Roll Heaven"

"Rock and Roll Heaven"

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there's a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they've got a hell of a band, band, band.

Jimmy gave us rainbows,
And Janis took a piece of our hearts,
And Otis brought us all to the dock of a bay.
Sing a song to light my fire,
Remember Jim that way,
They've all found another place, another place to play.

Remember bad bad Leroy Brown,
Hey Jimmy touched us with that song.
Time won't change a friend we came to know.

And Bobby gave us Mack the Knife,
Well look out, he's back in town.
They'll all be there together
When they meet in one big show.

There's a spotlight waiting
No matter who you are
Cuz everybody's got a song to sing,
Everyone's a star
Everybody's got to be a star.


I just know that Steve has found another place to play; he's off somewhere shooting his guns (and all those ones he couldnt get anymore because of government interference) and offering his many, strong, well informed, and well articulated opinions, with jsut a little odd twist to them.

I should mention; a lot of steves good friends are up in Idaho right now for the Boomershoot including Kim, and a few of the NoR. I can guarantee you Steve is getting a proper 21 (hell, 210 gun) salute; with a few boomers thrown in.

Oh and one last thing; Steve is going to be cremated, in a service with full military honors; and his ashes will be stored in a .50 cal ammo can. I couldn't think of a better way to handle it than that.

Requiescat In Pace Airboss

What are YOU listening to?

I listen to a LOT of music; both in volume, and in variety. I USED to listen to my vast MP3 collection until my brother accidentally erased it (yes... angry was a very mild term), but at the moment mostly I listen to Sirius Sattelite radio.

I bought my sirius about a year ago; about a week after I bought my car. It's a 1990 BMW, and while the stereo was kick ass for 1990, it left something to be desired for 2004. So anyway, I'd been thinking about getting either XM or Sirius for a while; and there were a few recievers with either, that I thought looked interesting; so I picked the reciever I liked (a mid range kenwood; great stereo, and matching illumination for the Bimmer) which was sirius compatible. It jsut so happened they had a deal on sirius: buy a Sirius compatible Kenwood, and you got your sirius reciever for free; so I signed right up.

I have never made a better entertainment decision in my life.

From day one I haven't bothered with the regular broadcast radio, except on occaison flipping over to AM to catch the traffic.

You can find just about everything on Sirius; and the best thing is, there's ALWAYS something good to listen to among your choices. The next best thing? No commercials (except on the talk stations).

Oh and every NFL game, with a specific channel featuring your home teams broadcast for each game. They do the same for baseball and basketball; but I dont listen to either.

I liked it so much in fact that I got one for my house (on sale for $75 with the home adapter kit and shipping), and I may get another one for my office if they still have that sale in a couple weeks.

XM is great too; gives you a similar lineup(I like Siriuses better) and they charge a couple bucks a month less; though they do have some commercials.

Now the reason I love Sirius so much (and excuse me for sounding like a commerical here), is jsut BECAUSE my tastes are so many and varied. Sirius has jsut about everythign I want to listen to, and usually several different varieties of it.

I listen to a lot of metal, classic rock, blues, alt, punk, and soul -- Check
I sometimes listen to old school rap and hip hop (PE, NWA, KRS One and BDP etc...) -- Check
I sometimes listen to jazz and classical -- Check
I sometimes listen to country and folk -- Check
I sometimes listen to electronica, industrial, and rave -- Check
I sometimes listen to Celitc and sometimes Raggae -- Check

Hell I almost never bother with CD's anymore, unless I'm in the mood for a specific song. Kind of like having an IPod with a huge random playlist.

Lesse, here's my presets list, in order (I listen to all of them, but I spend the most time in the news and talk part):

Sirius Right (right wing talk radio. sometimes too right wing for me)
Sirius Patriot (NRA News half the day, right talk the rest, pentagon radio overnight)
Sirius Fox News
Sirius Phoenix Traffic and Weather
Sirius Weather Radio West
Sirius Raw Dog (dirty and offensive comedy -- Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Leary, Miller etc...)

Sirius Hair Nation (hair metal)
Sirius Buzz Saw (classic hard rock)
Sirius Alt Nation (basic alternative)
Sirius Octane (hard rock, metal and nu-metal, skatepunk, thrash, hard-alt, industrial)
Sirius Faction (mix of hard rock, thrash, punk, nu-metal, industrial and hard hiphop)
Sirius Hard Attack (Hard metal, speed metal, thrash metal, death metal, and industrial)

Sirius First Wave (Nu-wave, early alternative -- hudu gurus, sonic youth etc.. --, seattle sound)
Sirius Pulse (90's mtv stuff; wallflowers, bush, radiohead etc..)
Sirius Disorder (Odd mix of alternative, punk, nu-wave, classic underground, rock, ska)
Sirius Classic Vinyl (Early classic rock standards)
Sirius Rewind (Late classic rock standards)
Sirius Vault (deep classic rock. Non-radio cuts. B sides. Non-hits)

Sirius Outlaw (outlaw and alternative country)
Sirius Blues (blues)
Sirius Soul Revue (classic soul, motown style)
Sirius Planet Jazz (modern jazz)
Sirius Pure Jazz (classic jazz)
Sirius Pops (Classical pops)

I sometimes stick on the other country stations; but you get really tired of the twang babes and cowboy studs very quickly. I also go through the hip hop, electronic, world, and classicals a bit.

Like I said, very broad musical interests, but still mostly rock and roll.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Tale of the Tape - Week 5

So I left out tale of the tape the last two weeks because of my mom, and being too busy and too stressed.

This week was my first week on the job, and lemme tell ya the business level is HIGH.

How high do you ask?

Well, on Monday I weighed in, and in the past two weeks I had managed to creep back up to 372lbs (fast food etc...).

I weighed myself this morning, 358

Ok thats not really healthy. I thought about it and I realized that I'd only eaten four times all week; that's how busy I was.

Fucked up night

So I'm having a very fucked up night.

I went out after work to get some food; and I met this INCREDIBLY gorgeous little Korean girl; 4'10, 24 (age and waist); amazing body, amazing face (I LOVE asian women). Little turquoise blue dress, matching eyeshdow and contrasting watermelon lipstick with the same color heels and nails... Good lord; you couldn't have made a fantasy more perfect.

So anyway we start talking, and she's fun, funny, sexy... damn

Well; eventually we get to looking at each other in THAT way, touching hands, you know the deal; and we head back to her place.

Let me just say DAMN, and leave it at that.

Anyway, she's actually Korean (from Seoul), and she's got a nice Korean boyfriend; student at ASU and some kind of missionary or something; so A. you know she's not having much fun, and B. there's not what you would call a bright future there.

...but hell it was worth it.

So I'm driving home; WELL pleased, happy, one might even say blissful, and certainly well satisfied....

The car in front of me swerves; and I see a yellow blur jump out from the curb. I saw it in time to move; but not far enough to get him out from under my wheels so I tried to get him between the wheels.

There was a nasty thump; but it didnt sounds like a full on impact. I stopped right away pulled into a side alley; but the dog had run off.

A couple other cars had stopped with me, including the woman who had swerved in front of me; who turned out to be a paramedic, and coincidentally a dog fancier (she was gorgeous too actually; looked a lot like the girl from Legend and Ferris Buellers day off, Mia Sara. Yes; I am that much of a horndog that I noticed in incredibly gorgeous woman even though I had jsut hit a dog).

After a few minutes we found the dog (a medium sized long haird Golden Retreiver -- AMAZING he didnt hit the bumper); and he seemed ok. We checked for obvious injuries; and the dog didn't exhibit any pain; but he wasn't very responsive either. Conscious and aware, but not reacting very much to anything; and not whimpering, even when I picked him up (very bad sign).

The paramedic got her car (a ford explorer) and I carried the dog into it (my car was full of stuff).

I don't think the dog got a solid hit; I think he just went into the air dam under my bumper; because there was no impact on the main bumper, and no gross injuries; but the dog was clearly not well.

He had no tag, and was trailing a broken choke chain. His teeth looked good and clean, but his ribs were clearly visible and his fur was clean, but matted.

The paramedic offered to take him to the animal hospital she uses; and she said she had done it before more than once. I offered to pay but she said the county would cover it, and I didnt need to go. I gave her my card, and offered to pay if anything came up; and I asked her to call me when she knew what would happen. We both kind of agreed the county would probably jsut have him put down...

Damn I hate the abuse of animals.

I truly love dogs; I miss owning them (my condo complex is strict about no dogs); and the thought that this dog managed to survive being hit by a car; but was probably abused and neglected (clean but matted usually means neglect or abuse; not a stray)... I can't tell you how angry that makes me.

This is the frist time I've ever actually hit an animal. I've come close a bunch of times; but actually managed to avoid it every time before.

So I go from the most incredibly good feeling to... this.

Some days; it's jsut not worth chewing through the leather straps.

Hi guys

Well, at least two of my new employees are reading this blog (or at least they have read it); so I say

Hi Guys!

Remember, there may be some stuff on here that you really don't want to know about your boss ;-)

Nothing criminal or anything like that; but certainly VERY personal.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

So, I'm getting this RIMJob...

...aka the blackberry 7250 (the new smaller one with bluetooth -- you were thinking something filthy weren't you); they gave it to me at work for more effective communications or some such.



I hate the blackberry. It's expensive, I find it cumbersome; it's EXTREMELY limited as a PDA; and as a phone. Actually I've yet to find a combo PDA and phone that I like, but the blackberry is totally crippled as a PDA and pretty crappy as a phone as well.

Whenever you try and smash two devices into one, you are going to have to make compromises, and this is definitely a lowest common denominator compromise. The only advantage it has is wireless email; which is why the company gives them out in the first place.

Here's the thing: I already have Sony Ericsson T610:


AND a Palm Tungsten T3:



I get wireless internet access from the phone, through the PDA via bluetooth; and I can sue whatever palm apps I want.

Theres millions of them... LITERALLY MILLIONS, and some are VERY VERY good.

Everything about my PDA is better in every way to the blackberry. Everything about my Phone is better in every way to the blackberry; but the blackberry server handles all that email for the company, and every manager has to have one.

I mean, they're using verizon, and they are going to re-imburse me for MY cell phone anyway; why not jsut get me a Treo SmartPhone? They're decent phones AND decent PDAs (though the screens are tiny); or at least if you got yours after the recall they are.

BUT IT GETS BETTER.

Not only are they using the crippled PDA/Phone combo, BUT THEY ARE USING THEM FOR DATA ONLY.

Yes, that's right; the enterprise communications services package for our blackberries doesnt cover voice. No voice means half the functions of this rather large hip hugger are useless.

So I'm going to have to carry around my REAL PDA, my REAL PHONE, and the blackberry, which will only be useful for checking my email; which I could already do much better with my REAL PDA and REAL PHONE, if it werent for the corporate blackberry infrastructure.

Lord... I already have a bat belt; it's not like I need more crap hanging off it. When I'm carrying it'll be even worse. Of course I don't carry at work; but I'm an operations manager, I need to be available 24/7 in case something explodes; and I DO carry everywhere else.

I feel like the COmic Book guy; wondering why his utility belt door prize didn't come in XXL.

Gettin their WANG on!



Anyone who's read my sidebar knows I'm a Penny Arcade fan, and this pretty well sums up how I'm feelin about the newest Lucas opus.

Personally I'm jonesin for hitchikers (going friday with JohnOC), Serenity, and F4.

This is indeed a good geek year for movies.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Another Year, Another Yeargh!

Another eccentric orbit of the third planetary mass out from Sol has completed since the day of my natality (actually the two days, it took 48 hours for me to pop out, as my mother will frequently remoind); without my expiration.

Yup, today is my birthday. Yay me.

Aren't adult birthdays pretty much non-events? At least they always have been for me. I see all the TV shows and movies where they make a HUGE deal out of birthdays and it just doesnt fit with my life, or most of my friends either.

I don't really celebrate my birthdays. It's not that I don't like them or anything; It's that most of my birthdays since I was 13 have been REALLY SHITTY. Either that, or I've been really busy with other things, and I jsut didnt have the time or energy etc...

I don't know why, it just seems like bad shit happens to me on or around my birthday, and it leaves a bad taste or something. So I'm usually looking over my shoulder a lot today.

I've only had two parties in the last 15 years; one in the AF (any excuse for a party, believe me) and one thrown by my now ex wife; and both were fun but nothing major.

Usually the only gifts I recieve are nominal amounts of cash, though the occaisonal book, CD, DVD or video game has come into play; and when I was married my wife got me a few kinda cool things. My amazon wish list has played a significant role in my birthdays for some time as well; which reminds me I need to update it one of these days.

My former girlfriend Antje was good with birthdays and holidays too. One year when I was working in Manhattan she got me the helicopter tour of new york for christmas (which happened to ber HER birthday as well; or actually christmas eve).

Today will be no different. I used to have a bunch of friends in the area; but just about everyone has moved away 'cept John O'c; the consequence of college friends, eventually they move away from the college; and of tech friends, eventually they move where they get better jobs.

Actually that's an intresting one to consdier; maintaining close friendships in our highly mobile society. I've been best friends with Jim since we were 7 years old. There have been times when we havent seen each other for three years at a time; or called each ther for months; but it's never had the slightest effect on our friendship. I haven't seen my friend Mike B. for 8 years, but we still talk online all the time, and we're still great friends. He's asked me to be his best man 4 times, though none of the engagements ever made it to the altar yet (Mike is a hopeless romantic, but not a great judge of women, complicated by the fact that he's a mormon; I love him anyway though).

There are other friends I have who I haven't seen or heard from in years, but I KNOW that when I do again, it will be like we never parted.

Others, I'm sure will barely remember who I am.

Anyway it's jsut somethign interesting to think about.

So what I was rambling on about was that I probably wont do anything tonight. I'm going to go see my mom after work; but my brother will already be at work (he's a line cook at a Fridays; hates the job. He's an honest to god sous chef, but he can'[t find a decent gig), so I wont get to see him. I don't think I've even mentioned my birthday to John -- maybe a few weeks ago I said something, and I may have mentioned it chatting online; although he reads this page so he knows now -- Hi John; not that I didn't want him to know, it's jsut not a big deal.

I think the only thing I'm going to do myself to celebrate is head down to my gun club for my free machine gun rental. Its been a few months since I've been able to do any rock and roll.

See, though my club CAN be a pain in the ass; it has some benefits.

So I say again, yeah verily; happy birthday to me. Here's to another year of not dying.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

First Day

Well, I was going to write a long post about my first day, but I'm too damn exhausted. I was working from 0730-1830; and I didn't get any sleep at all last night (literally). I was up for 48 hours, had a nap for 2 hours, and then I woke up last night around 2200, and have been up since.

Instead of the typical first day orientation; my boss (who's in another state anyway) get sick, and I'm in two actual operational meeting in my first three hours. I had a short staff meeting with each of my staff as well; and I've been given half a dozen major projects alreayd.

Oh and that's not including the list I'm making of other shit that needs to be done; and that list is loooooong.

This is what happens when you have no-one managing process, procedure, or operations for two years. Everything ties itself in knots; it may work, but no-one knows how, or for how long.

Then there was the 3 hours worth of HR paperwork to go through (no exaggeration). Of course the upshot of it is I'll be paid for this week next friday rather than having to wait for three weeks; AND I get health benefits starting today, including full medical, 90/10 scrip with no penalty for name brand, full dental inc. orthodontal and surgury, disability, life, legal, health club, employee assistance, 401k with 100% match up to 6% and a 2 year vest; basically the whole package; all of it for $130 a month (I maxed out all my coverage, because it was only $40 more than the basic).

The healthcare industry doesn't pay that well (in any other business... well except financial who are just as bad... I'd be making 25-50% more for this same job); but the bennies are absolutely the best.

So I'm there maybe 3 hours, and I find out that of my three ops staff (the guys who monitor the systems, change backup tapes etc...) one has only been in the job a couple months; one transferred within the company a few days ago, and was replaced with someone who started yesterday; and the third is leaving in three weeks to become a flight attendant, which was apparently her dream since she was a little girl. We have 18 hour coverage with overlap, and an on call bridge; which means that people can't really back stop each other all that much.

Even better, one of my help desk guys so palpably hates his job, that he's about ready to pop; but he's a really good, sharp, experienced guy who I don't want to lose; so I NEED to find something for him to do to get him off the phone.

Another girl is so frustrated and pissed and abused (by the lack of a system, and the people who take advantage of it) that she cant stop making bitter (but funny) jokes. She hasn't had anyone to go to with her problems, and no-one who could actually do anything about them anyway...

I've got ONE guy admining a 24/7 high availability mixed UNIX (sun, linux, and HP), and win2k3 environment; a couple dozen boxes, includgin two symmetrix boxes and two libraries with BCV and DR for five sites around the country.

Security.... the admin can't get any security in place because he has no management clout, and not enough security experience; to push through the inconvenience of security on the people who use the systems currently. The problem is, without regard to the general risks involved in having poor information security; WE'RE A HEALTH CARE COMPANY; we have HIPAA and NIST issues to deal with.

I LOVE THIS SHIT!

There's nothing I love better than going in, kicking ass, and taking names; even better when I'm doing it for people who I like, and want to help and support.

My staff are great, but they're all on the edge of burnout because they havent had any support. Now it's time to turn that around, and I can't wait.

Now if I can just get the rest of the company to go along with me without having to resort to violence (emotionally and verbally anyway); and avoid being fired at the same time...

Eric and I continue...

...to mirror each other eerily.

Shotgun
You preferred a weapon with 54% power over speed and 58% range over melee.
You use a Shotgun.
While not the fastest gun in the west, a shotgun's raw power and ease
of use make it an extremely potent weapon. Some shotguns can also be
loaded with many different types of ammunition, providing a versatility
many guns don't have. Choosing your shots, you fell your opponents
immediately and without pause.



My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on power
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 71% on range
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Link: The What's Your Signature Weapon Test written by inurashii on Ok Cupid

Monday, April 25, 2005

Papas got a brand new bag

So tomorrow I start a new job.

I mentioned I had a great prospect lined up a couple times; starting the night my mom went into the hospital. Well the interviews were great, and the little HR situation was sorted out; and last week we came to an agreement.

I've been holding off on mentioning it in case their building blew up between then and my start date or somesuch. I think I've mentioned before I've become quite paranoid about the job situation as I've discussed firm offers with three companies so far and have them pull out at the last second for unspecified reasons.I didn't want to push my luck on this job.

Well now that I'm starting tomorrow; it's time to tell y'all about it.

I was supposed to start May 2nd (next mondy), because that's their next "new employee orientation" (which I will still have to attend, from 8-5), but my new boss called me up this morning and asked if there was any way I could start sooner; to which I said "Heck yeah, May 2nd was doubleplusungood to me; that was just the earliest HR said I could start. I'd love to start tomorrow", his response "That's bull, we'll see about that". 30 minutes later HR called me up and said "Hey can you start tomorrow?" Yes, yes I can.

So in the morning I start as the new Systems Operations Manager, for the healtchare services division of the largest health care support services provider in the united states. What they do is provide care advice, on call nurses, employee assistance services, insurance and treatment prescreening and authorization, and various administrative and paperwork services; to employees, insurance companees, and HR departments.

I'll have about a dozen direct reports in three departments; service desk (including desktop support and operations support), systems and server admin, and IT operations. I'll also have a few dotted lines, and we'll probably be expanding the positions to about 20 total over the next few months.

I will also be the datacenter manager, and act as chief architect and senior administrator for the site. There are 5 other major sites, for which I will be expected to act as a contributing architect and associate manager.

I will direct report to the Director of IT operations for my division (there are 4 divisions), who direct reports to the CIO.

Basically this is a "buck stops here" position; which is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm responsible for pretty much all the IT and IT support for the division specifically, and for the southwest region of this company generaly. Considering it's a 250 million dollar company, and a 40 million dollar division; that's a pretty big deal.

Anyone who knows me knows there's two things I want in a gig: challenge, and responsibility (along with the authority and resources necessary to accomplish the mission of course); so I'm very happy about this.

Now with my mom, and working at the gun store for a few months; this will be the first regular 9-5 type job (actually probably more like 8-6 considering the responsiblities involved)I've been in since last August; so it's certainly going to be an adjustment. Also the current situation over there is screwed up with regards to architecture management, and operational management. Since this division was acquired by the parent company 2 years ago, there has been no onsite management; everything has pretty much been lieft willy nilly with the staffers reporting directly to my boss.

So yeah, it's going to be a challenge getting process and procedure into place where there was none before. The first challenge? Get the local non IT staff to understand that there IS an onsight manager now; and that my job is to see to their requirements through my people. They need to understand that I am the contact and control point for the rest of the division into this group. I set the assignments and the priorites, I make sure it gets done, I do the bitching if it doesn't, and I take the shit when it comes down. That's my job, not my peoples job.

That means no more direct requests or assignments for IT staff. That means no more bitching to them either. That's my job, not my peoples job.

That's going to be painful. These people are used to jsut piling stuff on the staffers directly. This is what happens when you have no effective local management; and this is why I'm being brought in.

I have to say; I'm excited. This is the first job I've REALLY wanted, in quite a while.

Oh, and a weird note: The HR manager for the last company that stiffed me (the guy just stopped returning calls) called me up and asked me what was going on, why I hadnt gone forward etc... I told her I had two interviews about two months ago; by the end of the second interview we were talking about when I could start; and I haven't heard anything since except a vague message about April something. I even had a guy I know inside the company ask what was up, but he never got a response. She's as mystified as I am, and has promised to track down what happened; even though I told her I was starting elsewhere tomorrow, we'd both like to know.

9-1/2 weeks

Well a few minutes ago I went over the 25000 unique visitor mark since I started the blog on Feb. 14th.

YEAH ME!

A couple of my online friends have recently started blogs (I'll link to them once they have some content); and we were talking about blogs and blogging on the NoR forums related to this the other day.

A commenter said: Chris, you sound like you really get into blogging. What,do you make a living doing it or something? :P

Don't I wish...

Well actually no, not really. I've been a freelance magazine writer before (Tech Republic, Gartner, IDG, a couple others during the .com boom), and it's a pain in the ass.

When the money was good ($0.35 a word), it was well worth it, but now the money is shit ($0.07 or so, $0.12 if you're damned good or slightly famous).

I used to crank out 4-7000 words a week at $0.35 a word, in addition to my "real job"; and man it was a good thing.

Now I'm putting out ... probably more actually (and that's not including the several thousand words a week I write up on the NoR), and I'm not getting paid at all; but at least I get to vent, which keeps me something close to sane.

I get between 300 and 500 uniques on a typical day, with 1500-3500 on a day the instapundit links me (happened 8 times so far, once directly the rest as part of carnivals; and it will certainly happen the next time I host the carnival of cordite), and 1500-2500 if Kim DuToit links me. The day they both linked me I got 5000 hits.

I've had 25,000 uniques, and 50,000 page views in the nine-1/2 weeks since I started this blog. The previous 12 years I had a website, I had a total of about 150k uniques.

I guess people like what they read; they keep coming back for more.

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili. Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe." --Harry James
Alright, time once again for another installment of "Recipes for REAL men". This time we're going to cook up my famous (within my family and friends anyway) Andouille chili.

Technically speaking this isn't a traditional chili, because I use tomato puree in mine, and real chili uses no vegetables other than the chile peppers; but this is a habanero chili, and without the tomatos to... moderate it; no-one would be able to eat the stuff but me (I have been known to drink tabasco straight, and use Daves insanity sauce as a mild garnish).

Andouille Guiness Chili


Ingredients:

2lb stew beef, or short ribs, trimmed and cubed into 1/2"-1" chunks (or 4lbs if its the only meat)
1lb extra lean ground beef (optional)
1lb pork loin, trimmed and cubed into 1/2-1" chunks (optional)
1lb Andouille sausage (linguica or spanish chorizo can also be used, but not mexican chorizo)
1 large sweet bell pepper, seeded and diced large (1/2" or so - optional)
1 large sweet onion diced large (vidalia if you can get one, bermuda if you can't - optional)
16oz unsweetened tomato puree
32oz of beef stock or strong beef broth(more or less depending)
1 bottle of Guiness stout (other brands are acceptable, but Guiness is traditional)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4oz butter
2 tblsp olive oil

Seasoning:

1-4 mature Habanero peppers (scotch bonnet work well too, as do other C.Chinense cultivars)
2 cloves of garlic (optional to taste)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional, but traditional - to taste)
4tblsp fresh chopped oregano
4tblsp black pepper
4tblsp cayenne pepper
2tblsp turmeric
2tblsp cumin
2tblsp ground black mustard (use spicy thai or chinese hot mustard if you cant find pure black)
1tblsp smoked paprika (sweet or hot depending on preference)

NOTE: You will need a 5qt or larger stock/boiling pot; or slow cooker/crock pot for this.

If you are unable to find either Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, or you want to experiment with different chili flavors and heat levels, you can use Santakas (actually I HIGHLY recommend Santakas in general, they have a great flavor in addition to their heat), real Cayenne peppers, Rocoto, Petiquin/Chilitepin, thai hot, Fatali, Aji, Datil, or Serrano peppers; but you need to understand the heat levels of each pepper, and how best to prepare them.

If you want a somewhat milder chili, you can also use four times as many Hatch chilis (a medium heat green chili available in the southwest); or other milder chili types. You may also want to add some chipotle (smoked jalapeno) for their smoky flavor; but be careful to find good quality pieces, as much of what is sold in the US as chipotle are poor quality peppers that were rejected for sale as market grade jalapenos.

If you don't have fresh chiles, you can use Daves insanity sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons will be the same heat level as two fresh roasted Habanero chilis).

If you manage to get ahold of "The Source" (the worlds hottest, and most expensive hot sauce), 1 teaspoon will do about the same thing; but there really isn't any flavor added, just heat. At that point you might as well just get some pure capsaicin extract like Blairs 6AM reserve which is about ten times the concentration of capsaicin as in bear repellent OC spray.

Now, to my mind, and to chili purists; you shouldn't include onions or non-chili peppers in your chili, but a lot of people seem to expect them. In this chili, you can use the sweet peppers, and sweet onions, to help balance out the heat of the peppers.

Bringing up that heat, there's some things you need to be careful of.

VERY IMPORTANT!

If you've never cooked with REALLY hot peppers like Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets; they are... well... REALLY FRIKKEN HOT.

You need to be careful touching them if you have sensitive skin, and after you've been handling them wash your hands and utentsils throughly before touching any part of your body, especially your eyes. Every chile lover has at one time or another run off to the bathroom without washing their hands first and... well we wont go any further with that one shall we.

But seriously, you may think you've messed with hot peppers because you eat the Jalapenos they give you with your PapaJohns or at the local mexican place; but that aint nothing.

Heat, in the sense of spiciness; is measured in Scoville units. In peppers, the heat is caused primarily by the chemical capsaicin (which is the C in OC, or "pepper spray", the O is oleoresin). Absolutely pure capsaicin would register above 20 million Scoville units (SCU), but the "pure" mark is considered 16 million. The police use a 5% OC solution, which has about 500,000 ScU. Park rangers use a bear repellent with about 1.5 million ScU.

A pepperoncini, which is what most people are actually thinking of when they are talking about Jalapenos; rates about 500 scoville units. The hottest varietal of Jalapeno is about 20,000scu, and most are around 5,000scu. Tabasco peppers (the main ingredient in Tabasco sauce) and pure Cayenne peppers both run from 30-50,000scu.

The Habanero pepper runs between 5 and 10 times that, from 125,000 to 350,000 scu, with the hottest varietal (the Red Savina) hitting almost 600,000 SCU.

Yeah, thats at least 250 TIMES as hot as those pepperoncinis you pop in your mouth.

Eating a raw Habanero at the top end of the scale can cause blistering of the sensitive skin in your mouth, and of your mucous membranes (as the residue gets breathed up into your sinuses). Even at the bottom end of the scale, if you aren't used to the heat, a habanero can cause dizziness, sweating, rashes, vomiting, gastric distress, and asthma attacks.

If you eat a chile that causes a rash or blistering, you will be treated for a chemical burn; that's the effect it can have.

No, I'm not kidding.

We HotHeads (hot chile lovers, also called ChileHeads or PepperHeads) are freaks, and we like it that way.

The upside of all that? If you are acclimatized to chiles the heat causes your body to release termemdous amounts of endorphins, as well as ramping up your bodies systems in general. Your pain receptors get kind of damped out, and your pleasure receptors go on full alert. Basicaly it's a lazy mans way to get a runners high.

Oh, and if you get hangovers; very hot chilis will perk you RIGHT up.

If you DO eat a chile that's far too hot for you, DON'T DRINK WATER; at least not right away. The first thing you want to do is rinse your mouth out with something acidic and astringent like lemon juice or vinegar (the astringence will help to clear the volatile oils out of your mouth), then drink something fatty like whole milk. Hard core chile lovers keep cream, or especially buttermilk around. Some people recommend eating dry bread, which will help remove the remaining residue from your lips, and teeth, but it's not going to do anything for your throat or stomach.

So, how many chiles should you add? Well, I list 1-4 for a reason. This is a high fat chili, and the fat content acts to balance out the heat, as do the sweetness of the tomatos; so I generally make the chili with two chiles. Four chiles will make this recipe SCORCHING hot on the average persons heat scale, and probably too hot for most folks out there. A single chile will be quite mild, roughly equivalent to eating a taco bell burrito with their hot sauce.

If that's STILL too hot, you need to use a mild chile like the Jalapeno Santaka, Chipotle, or even more mild like Ancho or Poblano; but DON'T OMIT THE FRESH CHILES ENTIRELY.

All too often people who don't like the heat just decide to substitute some relatively mild chili powder for the cayenne powder and fresh chiles; but I guarantee you this recipe will not be as good; basically ending up as a mildly spicy beef stew.

OK, on to the prep work:

You have a choice: You can use either a 5qt or larger thick bottomed pot; or you can use a crock pot of the same size. If you are using a crock pot, you'll want to sautee the meat in a large skillet, then transfer the full contents of the pan, including the grease, into the slow cooker. It's important you deglaze the pan and add the liquid from that as well to get maximum flavor.

First, slice the sausage on the bias, into bite sized chunks. Crush the garlic, and melt a a couple tablespoons of butter and and oil in the bottom of the pot.

Sautee the andouille in the butter and oil until it lightly browned, then add in the rest of the butter, the stew beef, and the pork. If you are adding onions and peppers to the chili, sautee them lightly now before adding the rest of the meat.

Sautee until lightly browned, seasoning with a little salt, pepper, and cayenne powder or tabasco sauce if you like.

Crumble the ground beef into the pot, and lightly brown, seasoning as above.

Add the Guiness and vinegar, and enough beef stock to cover the meat, then simmer for about 20 minutes while you prep your chiles.

Lightly roast your chiles, until the skin starts to pucker. For maximum heat, use the whole chili (including seeds and stems). This will also add some bitterness. If you don't want the extra heat, or the bitterness (or if you arent going to puree the chilis) slice and seed the chiles before roasting. Oh and you should note, it isnt the seeds that contain most of the heat, its the stem; more specifically its the placenta or "pulque" of the chili, that the seeds attach to. If you scrape out the seeds and the white tissue the attache to, you'll lose a lot of your heat.

I like to dump my chiles into a blender with a little tomato and beef stock, puree them thoroughly; then add that to the chili, rather than just crushing or slicing and adding directly. Then rinse out the blender with more beefstock to make sure you get ALL the heat.

Add in the rest of the tomato puree, and then enough beef stock to fill the pot up to within an inch or so of the top (in a 5 qt. pot). This recipe is going to be simmered for a LOOOOOONG time, so you want it to be too thin, rather than too thick.

At this point you are going to be simmering the chili for at least 4 hours which is why you may want to use a crock pot. With a crock pot you can just prep it in the morning, and leave it cooking all day.

The Chili Cognoscenti (i.e. the world champion chili cooks) tend to stagger how and when they season, but generally speaking I just prep it all at once by mixing all the dry seasonings together and jsut dumping them in at the same time as I add the chiles.

What you want to do is simmer the chili until the beef and pork have basically disintegrated into shreds of meat. If the chili gets too thick, add beef stock to thin it out. If it's too thin, turn up the heat a bit.

Oh and too thick and too thin are pretty vague. Personally I like a chili that will coat the back of the spoon.

This recipe makes about 8 good sized bowls of a very thick and meaty chili; and man it is GOOD.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Found in my logs

Normally speaking my search terms are something like "Fine .45 acp" or ".38 casull", etc...

Basically guns and libertarian stuff.

But sometimes I get some WEIRD shit showing in my logs. Apparently my web site came up in a yahoo web search for this:

"pictures of kidnapped girls foe sex by guys"


I find this somewhat disturbing there.

My worship of Chris Muir Continues





Looks like Zed is carrying a USP Expert, but I can't quite tell what Sam is carrying.

UPDATE: Well, Chris Muir has weighed in from comments at geekwitha45

Hey, we ARE the NRA,man.

Girls,Guns,the USA, the way it should be.

Those are Glocks, by the way, though honestly i prefer Colt.


Now the question is, what models?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Gee, heres a REAL shocker - Part 2


You scored as Anarchism. <'Imunimaginative's Deviantart Page'>

Anarchism


83%

Republican


75%

Democrat


50%

Communism


33%

Socialist


33%

Fascism


33%

Green


25%

Nazi


0%

What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with QuizFarm.com

Yeah, that doesnt surprise me one bit.

I got this one from over at Eric Cowperthwait; who scored 100% on the anarchism and 42% on the socialist (which, knowing Eric; made me giggle. This is a guy who was prepared to end world socialism with a 120mm smoothebore).

I'm guessing I got what I did because I answered maximum on the "more liberal" and 2nd from maximum on the "more conservative" question (yes it is very possible to be both); plus I was second from max, or in the middle on a lot of questions. For example one of the questions is "do you support public education", and my answer to that question is complicated; so I put my dot in the middle.

Gee Heres a REAL Shocker





Your Inner European is Irish!









Sprited and boisterous!

You drink everyone under the table.


Friday, April 22, 2005

I prefer the term geek



Yes, I am a geek God.




And a computer god too apparently, though I'm kind of irked I only got a 98%. I think it's because I run windows on some of my machines.

In fact, I think I'll post my geek code.

I do wish that hayden would do an update. I know others have; but Hayden is the traditional one.


-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----

Version: 3.1

GCM/E/IT/O d+(-)@ s+:++ a- C++++$ UBLAIS++++$ P---(+++)@ L++$ !E---- W+++$ N+++>$ !o !K w++++(---)$@ !O- M+>$ V PS+@ PE++(+)@ Y++$ PGP++$ t++(--)@ 5(--) X++ R+++$* tv(+)@ b++++>$ DI++++ D++ G+++ e++ h+ r+ y+++++**

------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

If anyone know a GOOD updated geek code, or a better automatic code decoder (so that mundanes can read the code above without it being a PITA) I'll take a look.

HT: My favorite track toad

Thursday, April 21, 2005

ANWR and the Automobile

From Francis Poretto:

The House of Representatives has voted to allow oil exploration and extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR.) However, there are still some anti-energy-abundance types who refuse to confront the matter squarely:

Rep. Ed Markey (search), D-Mass., who offered the ANWR amendment, noted that the bill does nothing to improve the fuel economy of automobiles, which he said use 70 percent of the country's oil, and that it was wrong "to then turn to the wilderness areas and say we need energy."

An attempt to require automakers to increase fuel economy to a fleet average of 33 miles per gallon over the next decade was defeated 254-177.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (search), R-N.Y., a co-sponsor of the auto fuel economy proposal, said it would have reduce oil use by 2 million barrels a day — more than could be taken from ANWR — by 2020. He said it was "a bunch of nonsense" — as opponents claimed — that the increased fuel economy would cost the auto industry jobs, force consumers to buy smaller cars or reduce automobile safety.

Please note: anti-energy-abundance sentiment is not confined to Democrats. There are some mealy-mouthed Republicans, too. But apart from that, given that every study, whether conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or by private agencies, indicates strongly that raising the mandated fuel economy standards decreases the safety and utility of passenger cars, what else could opponents of oil exploration have said except that it's "a bunch of nonsense" -- ? Considering the fearsome rate at which Americans are abandoning the old standby sedan, cruelly shrunken by federal fuel economy laws, in favor of the sturdier, more capacious, more flexible sport-utility vehicle, they can have no actual arguments to offer.

Your Curmudgeon would dearly love to see one of the opponents of ANWR drilling confronted inescapably with the question: "Sir, given that every increase in oil and gas prices puts the very poorest out of work or out of heat, would you kindly tell us which Americans, by name, deserve to suffer that fate so a few hundred acres of barren tundra can remain untouched by Man?" But one should probably eschew unrealizable fantasies so early in the day.

YEAH ANWR DRILLING!!!!

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that we should use whatever resources we have to make us less dependent on foreign energy; even though ANWR will be a drop in the bucket, every drop helps.

I see nothing wrong with increased average fuel economy; I just have a problem with the government regulating it into being. Every auto manufacturer is trying to increase their fuel economy all the time, because its what the people want, and it looks better for them; but people wants SUV's which take down the corporate average.

The reasons people want SUVs are pretty simple: Style, and Space.

In the 50's style and space were king. They ruled over everything.

In the 60's they added POWER to the mix, and fuel economy was... well it wasnt even on the table. 7mpg wasnt a problem if you could do a burn out in fourth gear.

The 70's cars took everything that was good about 60's cars, took it out, and replaced it with "Fine Corinthian Leather". They still had space; but no style, little fuel economy, and seemingly negative power.

The absolute Nadir? The 78 eldorado weighed 6000 lbs, and had 140 HP.

The 80s cars all looked like they were designed by people who played too many video games; but they WERE getting more fuel efficient.

Basically every american car built between 1975 and 1987 was a piece of shit. There were a few exceptions (cop cars, the Grand National, and the corvette from '85 on for example), but for the most part they were ugly, unreliable, low quality, and only had middlin fuel economy to boot. But they still had SPACE, especially compared to their japanese competitiors, so we kept buying them.

The 90s cars all looked... well for the most part they looked the same.

I used to be able to tell you just about every make model and year at a glance. I could usually identify a car by their headlights in my rear view mirror. These days I can't tell the difference between a Chevy and a Nissan.

One of the reasons why Americans went so whole hog for SUV's, is because family cars didnt have any STYLE anymore. They all looked like soap bars with headlights. At least the SUV's actually looked like something.

During this same time period, American trucks jsut kept getting better and better. The Ford F150 has alsways been one of the top selling vehicles, and it jsut kept gettgin more so, until Ford was selling more F series and F series based models than all of their other vehicles combined.

The ford bronco was always a decent seller; but never a huge standout; the same for the chevy blazer, and the Suburban(which was mostly for BIG families, and contracters). The compact pickups were selling well; but the smaller SUV's were kind of ehhh.

Then came the Ford Explorer. I INSTANTLY became the best selling SUV on the market. It was bigger than the Bronco II it relaced, better looking, better driving.. hell it was generally jsut better.

Most important to MOSTof it's buyers, it was more carlike. They could get the space they wanted and it didnt have to drive (as much) like a truck.

Finally, the car companies had introduced SUV's that felt a lot more like cars, and the market jsut EXPLODED. People wanted style, and space, and SUV's had both; and they wanted vehicles that didnt really feel like trucks. The car companies figured out that basically putting decent car interiors in trucks, and messing with the suspension and steering; or just building a car with an SUV body on top of it (the toyota RAV 4 is mechanically Identical to a 1996 Celica with a beefed up suspension); would net you a best seller.

Style and Space.

The manufacturers loved it because SUV's are also by far the highest profit margin vehicles sold; even more so than high end luxury vehicles (which many SUVs are in their own right).

A fully kitted out Lincoln navigator runs in excess of 60k. I have been told by friends at Ford that to sell that truck at 0 profit the invoice would be somewhat less than 20k; primarily because it's made almost the same as a 35k Ford SUV, but with better paint and interiors.

I would attempt to make comparisons with like priced Amercian cars that offer full passenger accomodation, but there aren't any. The American manufacturers (excepting cadillac), have largely given up on the lower profit margin mid-range mid and full sized sedans.

The American manufacturers continue to make desultory swipes at the low end of the sedan market, but their offereings in this space are so poor; they need to offer multithousand dolar rebates jsut to get people to LOOK at the cars. Consequentially almost all of their sales are to fleets.

I should note, it's not jsut American cars that have this problem, japanese cars have no space or style either; but they are better in almsot every way to the American cars they are competing against.

They have no soul; which bugs me. I drive a 1990 BMW 525is because it has space, style, and soul. The door openings are a bit small; but I'm a big guy. I bought it because it was the newest E34 5 series (89-94) I could find in my area with a manual transmision. Oners love them, and either want unreasonably high prices; or they drive them til they die (since they last 20 years, not many of them have died yet). They're popular project cars, and in fact I'm planning on doing an engine swap for a 3.8 supercharged I6 to replace the 2.5 thats in there already. Should end up north of 500hp, and something in the low 5 second range high 4 second range for 0-60.

You can't do that with american cars anymore; at least not without a WAD of cash. Who would have thought that it would be the little imports that are the easiest and cheapest to work on; and have the most parts availalbe for them. Hotrodding isnt dead; it's jsut got no new American muscle to work with, so it's moved on.

Pontiac has @revived@ the GTO; or rahter theyve imported the overweight holden monaro from Australia and stuck a hopped up engine in it and CALLED it the GTO, but really it's jsut a salesmans car with a big motor.

Sure thats what started the musclecar revolution; but the thing is so bland that it's a sacrelige to call it a GTO. Even worse: though it's overweight, IT STILL has no space, and no style.

This whole issue has GM losing billions a year (for other reasons as well); and forcing it to eliminate Oldsmobile; with Pontiac most likely next on the chopping block. Pontiacs car selections are a universal disaster, and again without fleet sales (mostly to rental car companies) there would be NO pontiac at this point. The only thing GM makes money on are trucks, Corvettes, and Cadillacs.

Ford has done the same with lincoln and mercury, only selling a few models with each badge; mostly to fleets and to retirees who miss their fullsize cars of old. It's likely that ford will eliminate mercury altogether in the next few years.

Chrysler did the same with Plymouth, and Dodge pretty much just sells trucks, minivans, and the viper; with a few neons thrown in for good measure.

Chrysler seems to be the only company trying to turn things around in the mid and full sized sedan market, with the Chrysler 300, and the dodge magnum. They also do a brisk business selling Sebring convertibles; because they are the cheapest ragtop out there.

The Chrysler 300 is breaking sales records left and right; and while I personally don't care for the car, it should send a clear message to the American manufacturers:

Build better cars, with some style, and some space, and people will buy them. Keep building what you're building, and in 10 years you'll just be seeling trucks.

Daylight savings time

Theres just something that irritates me a bit.

I live in Arizona, which does not observe daylight savings time. Blogger understands how to handle this, but for some reason haloscan and sitemeter do not.

In order for the time stamps to be correct, I need to set my timezone to pacific time.

Hell I'd do the whole thing in GMT 'cept half you guys wouldnt understand why your comments were timstamped the next day half the time.

Yesterday....

Yesterday, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was officially elected supreme pontiff, and chose the name Benedictus XVI.

Yesterday was the most common date throughout history for Easter; since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Murrah federal building bombing (rot in hell Timmy boy; cant wait till all your friends are there with ya).

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the murder by federal officers of 86 Branch Davidians at Waco.

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of the first raid on Randy weaver at Ruby Ridge. Weaver was entrapped into selling ATF agents two shotguns with barrels 1/4" too short; so that they could "flip" Weaver to act as an informant for the FBI, against white separatist groups in the area . Four months later he was raided again; when Weavers son Sam and his friend Kevin Harris stumbled on the FBI surveliance teams. During this raid Weavers wife, son, and dog were shto and killed; and weaver himself, and Kevin Harris were wounded.

Yesterday was my younger brothers 26th birthday (I love you Rob, even though you are an asshole).

Yesterday was the 44th aniversary of the betrayal of the cuban people by president Kennedy

Yesterday was the 54th anniversary of Douglas MacArthurs retirement. Old soldiers never die El Supremo.

Yesterday was the 62nd anniversary of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto uprising being put down; on the eve of passover. It ended on May 16th in a massacre by poison gas. The last of the fighters were trapped in a few buildings, and some sewer tunnels. They flooded the tunnels with gas, and then went in and exterminated all but a few; who they saved for show trials.

Yesterday was the 67th anniversary of the first commercial television broadcast (they didn't know what they were starting).

Yesterday was the 109th running of the Boston Marathon

Yesterday was the 140th anniversary of Abraham Lincolns funeral.

Yesterday was the 144th anniversary of the first deaths of the civil war (a riot in baltimore).

Yesterday was the 181st anniversary of Lord Byrons death (live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse; and he definitely did).

Yesterday was Patriots day; the 230th anniversary of the shot heard round the world.

One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex, village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

Somehow a Beatles song just doesn't seem adequate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Left of the dial

I jsut watched the HBO documentary "Left of the dial" about the foundation of Ari America.

I actually really liked the film; on two levels.

1. It was an interesting protrait about an ambitious and underfunded startup company.. something I know a little bit about.

2. Watching liberals go insane. It absolutely staggers me that these people believe what they do, say what they do, act as they do...

I mean... damn.

I'm not going to give spoilers, but I will say: Watch it, if only to know your enemeis better

Ignorant, Dumb, Stupid, Idiotic, Crazy, and Insane

In response to my "Bumd and Ignorant questions" post reader (and carnival of cordite host , thank you very much sir) Gullyborg responded:

I would switch the words dumb and ignorant.

My take: ignorance can be cured, stupidity cannot.

Therefore: the question you can be excused for asking is the ignorant one; the question you should be embarrassed for asking is the dumb one.

Really what we have is a semnatic issue. Ya see, ignorance has two connotations. The first, is willful or negligent ignorance; the second is simply uninformed ignorance.

When one is willfully or negligently ignorant, it means that the knowledge you should have had, was given to you; or you absolutely should have known where and how to get it. You then ignored that knowledge; hence the word ignorant.

In the second case, you simply didnt know; or didn't know you SHOULD know. Maybe you should have known; but you didnt either deliberately disregard information present, or willfully ignore it as in the more aggravating connotation above.

I usually separate the apparent lack of knowledge or understanding into a few different categories:

Willful or Negligent Ignorance: (as above) This is what I generally mean when I say ignorant. I have no tolerance or patience for willful ignorance. The worst part is, that often those who are wilfully ignorant are quite intelligent, they are simply blinded by personal motivations.

Ignorant of the facts: When someone is ignorant of the facts of a case, they will be wrong; and act wrongly; no matter how smart they are. Ignorance of the facts doesnt necessarily mean the person is wilfully ignorant, or stupid; it may jsut mean they havent had the opportunity to find out what the facts ARE, or that they have been told facts that aren't.

Dumb: This implies the knowledge you dont have is simple, or basic and that you should have it fairly easily; or that you acted or spoke inapropriately on knowledge you DID have, because you didnt think it through. Dumb doesn't mean you arent intelligent, but it means you arent smart; at least at that moment.

Stupid: Stupid implies you did or said something without any knowledge or consideration; or that if you had such knowledge and consideration your actions or conclusions were very inaproriate on their face. Stupid also implies that you may not have had the mental capability to understand what the right thing would have been.

Idiotic:Idiocy is when you do or say something that is both completely counter to the facts of the situation as they are known to you; you dont bother to find the facts out when the situation absolutely requires it; or you do something completely contrary to your own interests.

Crazy: Crazy doesnt necessarily mean mentally ill; it jsut means that what you do or say seem to have little connection in reasoning to the facts. The funny thing is, crazy sometimes works (and it's almsot always interesting).

Insane: Insane doesnt necessarily mean mental illness either; but theres no other rational explanation for what you did or said. Insane is doing something guaranteed to fail; because you think it's the right thing to do, even though all logic and reasoning and facts say no.

Now, here's my theory on human behavior as it relates to this.

I dont care who you are; be it the pope, or Marilyn Vos Savant; we all do or say:

  • at least one dumb thing every day; usually several
  • at least one thing ignorant of the facts a few times a week
  • at least one really stupid thing every week... MAYBE if we're lucky just every month
  • at least one crazy thing every month (or in my case every week)
  • at least one willfully ignorant thing every few months (usually at holidays if nothing else)
  • at least one TRULY idiotic thing every year
  • at least one absolutely insane thing in our lifetime
Hell, it's all just part of being human.

THe problem is... well I think it was best expressed by Dennis Leary:

"Hey pal, God knows everyone has the right to be an asshole sometimes; but you're abusing the fucking privilege OKAY!!!!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Child Porn

As y'all should know by now, I'm a security consultant. One of the things I do is investigate the mis-use of company resources.

There are some very unpleasant parts of this job. Often mis-use means finding evidence of employeess surfing child pornography. I find it... far more frequently than the most twisted mind here will probably believe.

Some people just dont understand that things you do on a computer can be illegal. They figure that somehow the rules don't apply there. In the case of senior executives, they often believe the rules apply to their employees, but not to them.

Now I'm not talking about a 16 year old here; as far as I'm concerned that Tracy Lords shit should be legal; and I'm not going to ruin someones life over consensual sex with a teenager. Even if a 40 year old fucking a 16 year old is distatasteful I dont think it should be a felony; they're going to be terminated for cause anyway, they don't need to go to prison as well.

No, I'm talking about adults having sexual intercourse with children as young as 3 or 4 years old.

I've seen things that would turn your stomach. I've seen things that inspired me to violence.; and that's a VERY difficult thing to do. I've seen very young boys and girls; toddlers really; forced to have sex with groups of men, animals, foreign objects...

I keep records of everything I've found, and when and how I've found it. I then report it to the FBI and the National Center for missing and exploited children WHETHER THE CLIENT WANTS ME TO OR NOT.

When I sign on to do one of these jobs, I present my clients with my code of ethics. In it I make clear that I will do nothing illegal for them; nor will I cover up or help cover up any illegal acts I have found. I will report any illegal act to apropriate authorities; but I will NEVER disclose naything I find other than to those authorities, or who they designate.

Some companies don't seem to understand that I ACTUALLY MEAN IT. I have been offered money, I have been threatened with lawsuits; I DON'T CARE. If I find child pornography, or evidence of rape, child abuse, or murder; I am going to report it to the FBI, and/or to local police.

I keep copies of what I have found, along with the reports I made to the FBI and NCMES; just in case they need them for evidentiary purposes. If after 90 days I recieve no response (about 2/3 of the time) I throughly destroy (through a secure shredding utility) the copies I made, but not the detailed reports describing it.

I often recieve spam that contains child porn solicitations. When I do, I take a look, and if it's really child porn, I do the exact same thing.

I have provided evidence that has led to the prosecutions of literally hundreds of individuals.

Guess what? I expect that at some point I WILL have a problem because of this. The FBI has run stings on private investigators of child pornography before, and then charged them with recieving, posessing, or distributing it.

The FBI has a program called innocent images, which has done some great work in helping kids; but they also do a horrible disservice to our freedom and our rights. They will deliberately send people spam containing child porn, then raid the persons house; and seize the computer searching for "evidence".

They have destroyed hundreds, if not thousands of innocent mens lives this way. Theres something VERY wrong about that.

So what the hell do we do?

I said earlier that about 2/3 the time I never get a resposne back from the FBI and NCMES about the incidents I report. Theres something VERY wrong about that.

So what the hell do we do?

Most child pronography on the net today comes from Brazil, Japan, Russia, and South and Souteast Asia. The FBI has no jurisdiction, and limited capability to do anything at all.

So what the hell do we do?

Well, even with the problems I ask you; report any child pornography you come across (and you will eventually if you spend enough time on the net) you report it to the law enforcement and the NCMES at www.cybertipline.com

Quotable Quotes

As you probably know by now Josef Cardinal Ratzinger has been elected Supreme Ponitff; and has chosen the name Benedict XVI.

I jsut saw this quote from NoR contributor DFWMTX:

"Fuck the liberals, fuck the progressives, GOD BLESS BENEDICT XVI!!!!!"

I like it; I like it a lot.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I think I might actually....

...be getting used to living in Phoenix.

It was just under 100 degrees INSIDE my condo today; and I didnt particularly mind.

My A/C has been inneffective for a few weeks. It's not completely out, but it definitely needs to be serviced. The problem is, my landlady lives in China (she's an engineer originally from China, who came here, turned christian missionary, and went back); and I have to go through this involved and irritating process where I contact her agent (who happens to be her cousin), who contacts her other cousin, who gets a message to the landlady in China, and then back again.

It's not so bad with an emergency, and I'm sure they'll get someone to me quick enough, but they are CHEAP; so I will probably get a bit of static. Nothing serious just the typical chinese grocery store type bullshit (they wouldnt be sterotypes if there wasn't some truth to them).

Now some may say "move if it's a hassle", but I like the place, I actually like my landlady and her cousin, and the rent can't be beat ($650 a month for a 1000sq ft 2 bedroom in a nice neighborhood in Scottsdale).

Anyway, the official temps around here have been in the high 80s to mid 90s for a few weeks now(96 today I think), falling back into the 60s nights; the actual temps I've observed on my I/O thermometer have been from 5-10 degrees higher (as is typical), but still not uncomfortably hot. The current bet among local weathermen is that we'll break the offical 100 mark in the last week of April; which is a little earlier than most years (1st to second week of may), but nowhere near the record (mid march).

Unfortunately anything more than the mid-70s at night, and I have an even bigger problem sleeping than I usually do. There's typically a 20-30 (and sometimes as much as 40) degree difference between highs and lows each day here; so I need to call and get it fixed soon.

Loooooong range shooting

In Magnum Opus, I said:
To my mind, if you can't take it with a .270, a .308, or a .30-06, then you can't take it with a 7mm, or any of the .2xx or 6.x magnums.

Welllll...... except some of the semi-wildcats like lazzeronis. He makes a 6.53mm (.257) magnum that puts a 120 grain bullet out to about 4000fps, and that will give you some RANGE. Basically he takes a .375 mag case and necks it down to take a .257 Roberts bullet. Of course it's still only a 120gr bullet so I'd still worry about an Elk or bigger with it; really it's just going to make the longer range shots on medium game safer.

And that's pretty much it right there; honestly, that's the only benefit I can see from the smaller magnums...

...Anything MORE than the 7MM, would really be overkill. You don't need a .300 win mag or a .338 for Elk (unless you want to go out past 600 yards), and there's nothing bigger than an elk that I'm going to be hunting. Really the only reason I'd even consider the 7mag is for the extra 100 yards of safe range it's going to give me on a beast the size of wapiti.
So, like I said, the real reason for the magnums isn't so much to get extra killing power, it's to maiintain reliable killing power at longer ranges.

In comments to that piece reader Gadfly Responded with:
The ballistics on the lapua are almost not to be believed. Have you ever tried one out? I would never try a shot over 300 meters, unless I had an ideal set, but it would be nice to know you had a 1000 meter weapon.
I've fired a McMillan in .338 a few times, and yeah, it's a pretty sweet chambering; of course you feel every ounce of it, even in a 14lb gun.

Oh and the $4000 price tag doesn't help either; but hey, you get what you pay for.

To clarify, I'm talking about the .338 Lapua magnum; a semi-wildcat chambering that was developed specifically for long range tactical shooting (sniping, counter machine gun fire etc...). It's a pretty damned impressive round, neatly brdiging the gap wtween the .300win mag, and the .50 BMG.

The .338 was originally developped by wildcatters in America, but the Finnish company Lapua took a look at it (because the finnish government was looking for a new sniper rifle), and thought it would be an ideal sniper round, and decided to make it a factory offering; making a deal with Accuracy International to supply rilfes in the (now factory supported) chambering.

Their thinking paid off. With factory support behind it, the .338, now named the .338 lapua magnum; rapidly became the long range chambering of choice for tactical shooters, and long range benchresters alike.

Here's an exceprt from "The American Hunter" magazine talking about it's salient properties:
Its performance curve lies much closer to the big .50's. It carries 3,452 ft.-lbs. to 300 meters, compared to 1,438 ft.lbs. for the .308 Win. at the same range. At 1,000 meters the .338 yields 1,308 ft.-lbs., the .308 just 221. The Lapua bullet drops 13 inches at 300 meters, 370 inches at 1000. The .308 bullet strikes 16 and 506 inches low at those respective distances. Snipers needn't compensate as much for wind with the .338 Lapua, either. Its bullet drifts less than half as far as the .308's in a 10-mph wind. While you must tolerate more rifle weight and recoil with the Lapua, this .338 has much less kick than an untethered .50 BMG.
To my mind, there's no such thing as a gun that's reliable much over 1000 meters; my definition of reliable in this instance being a gun that will put 10 rounds into an 8" circle (about .8 MOA).

Sure there are individual god guns that will do 1/4 MOA at 1000m; but as a general rule for the chambering, not even a match .50 is that precise past 1000m. Even McMillan says their match .50's are .5 moa at 1000m, under ideal circumstances, with perfect ammo; and McMillan are the best (AI folks may dispute that, but it's a difference so small as to be unmeasureable).

Most quality .50's not in the McMillan/AI territory, are capable of between 1 and 2 MOA at 1000m; Ronnie Barrett for example quotes under 1moa for some models, under 2moa for others.

Of course the .50 in general is viable well past 1000m; because it's very heavy, aerodynamic bullet retains velocity and stability (and cross current resistance) out to between 1500 and 2000m. The .50 just isn't reliably precise by the standard listed above at those ranges (again, individual god guns notwithstanding).

The .338 however is probably the MOST precise long range chambering out to 1000m; in the right gun it IS reliably that precise (or significantly more so).

The long range match rifles the Army and Marines use in that chambering are capable of 1/4 - 1/2 moa out to between 800 and 1000 meters, and will maintain 1/2 moa maybe just a touch beyond out to 1200. Past 1200 though the precision falls off rapidly as the bullet is too light to retain velocity and cross current resistance, in comparison to the .50.

Added to all these advantages; is that the .338's weigh a hell of a lot less, and KICK a hell of a lot less than the .50 does. A high end .338 sniper rifle is going to weigh between 10 and 15lbs. That same quality and configuration of rifle in .50 (say from McMillan, who makes similar rifles in both chamberings), is going to weight more like 30lbs; and even with the extra weight there's still something between 2 and 3 times the felt recoil impulse with the .50.

Of course I'm nowhere NEAR good enough to make use of this capability:

With good optics, I can generally make solid hits out to 600 meters with a field gun(my longest kill shot ever was over 600), nothing like 1/2 MOA, or even 1 MOA, but good enough to guarantee a kill. From a bench gun, I have no problem with 600m, or even out to 800.

The fact is though, I'm just not still enough for anything beyond it. I can make those 600m to 800m shots with an accurized M14, or Rem 700 in .308 without too much difficulty, but even behind a $4000 McMillan in .338 I can't do anything much beyond it; it's just about the natural limit of what my body will let me do.

Without optics I can get a good chest shoot at about 300, but I'm not really seeing my target properly at that point; I really need to keep it under 200, and prefer keeping it to 100.

Heck, at 100 I can still group decently with good iron sights (gotta be a peep/diopter), at 200 and 300 it's more like a pattern. Though I was good enough to max out expert in qualification, and snag an SAE ribbon (with device no less; I did the same for pistol), that's really not saying much.

I know a bunch of sniper types; let me tell you those cats are unnaturally still; which is what you need for 800-1000m riflery. You have to absolutely control every motion your body makes, including your heart beat and respiration.

I can do the trick; slowing down your heart and breathing, then firing between beats; but even then, I still can't reliably hit anything beyond 800m

A little more of the logic of chambering selection

Reader gadlfy comments on Magnum Opus , saying:

I grew up with my .270. Perfect for almost all North American game. You can shoot close and not tear up a whitetail, or you can reach out for a long shot and still have enough moxie on the bullet for an elk (I was turned on to the round by my elk-hunting uncle).
My first real hunting gun that was MINE, that I bought; was a Rem 700, stainless synthetic in .270. I think it's just a great chambering; and one that I prefer to almost any other. After I bought it I started Reading Jack O'Conners old stuff, and others, and I came to agree, it's the best all-rounder standard bolt action chambering.

The reason why I would probably go with .308 though, is for ammo commonality. I already have a .308, and several thousand rounds of ammo for it; plus I plan on reloading it.

I know the .270 is sufficient for elk with the right load selection, and at the right range (and really the .308 isn't beyond 250 yards or so), but it's just not quite where I feel comfortable with it. I'd like that extra 100 or so yards of safe killing range that the magnum is going to give me.

Given that, I really do think if i decide to go for elk again; that I'll buy a 7mag. The new .270 mags (theres three of them I think) are interesting; but ballistically they seem to offer little advantage over the plain .270, and a slight disadvantage(in bullet weight selection) to the 7mag.

The various .300 mags, (including the short mags) are also interesting; and with some of them I can share bullets with the .308 if I decide to reload; but other than the .300 win mag theres a cost issue (the .300 is about the same cost as the 7mag), and the .300 is significantly harder kiciking than the 7.

The thing is, I don't see enough ballistic advantage in either the short mags, or the .300 mags over the 7mag to compensate for the extra recoil and/or the ammo cost and distribution issues. I like to follow the wal-mart rule on ammo: if you can't find it at your local wal-mart, it's not a chambering you want to depend on as your field gun; and 7mag is the most popular centerfire magnum rifle caliber in America (with .300 win mag right behind it).

I'm willing to be convinced, but thus far no-one is really arguing against me.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Magnum Opus

There's an interesting discussion going on over at the Nation of Riflemen forums about the utility of various magnum rifle calibers.

The last five years have seen the re-introduction of half a dozen old magnum chamberings, and probably two dozen new one's, almost all of them in the sub .300 caliber category. Realistically, I don't think theres any ballistic advantage to any of them, because all they are really doing is taking a fatter case, making it shorter, and necking it down further to get the same results as existing calibers (magnum or non). This is supposedly more efficient, and it allows for a slightly smaller gun (by about 1/2" or so, or 1" for the ultra short magnums), but again, where's the utility in these chamberings?

To my mind, if you can't take it with a .270, a .308, or a .30-06, then you can't take it with a 7mm, or any of the .2xx or 6.x magnums.

Welllll...... except some of the semi-wildcats like lazzeronis. He makes a 6.53mm (.257) magnum that puts a 120 grain bullet out to about 4000fps, and that will give you some RANGE. Basically he takes a .375 mag case and necks it down to take a .257 Roberts bullet. Of course it's still only a 120gr bullet so I'd still worry about an Elk or bigger with it; really it's just going to make the longer range shots on medium game safer.

And that's pretty much it right there; honestly, that's the only benefit I can see from the smaller magnums.

Now, once you get into the .300 and above magnums, that's a different story. They carry some respectible bullet weights, at very high velocities; but you pay for it in recoil, gun wear, and ammo price.

With a large magnum, you also lose the ability for quick followup shots, unless you really are a recoil Rhino (I AM one). The felt recoil of a .300 win mag, is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than a 7mm magnum, and the 7mag is; generally speaking; where most people start to say "ouch, I don't want to shoot that again".

I'm ashamed to admit I don't have a hunting rifle right now, (though I'm sure my M14 could do an admirable job of it). When I buy new hunting rifle, I wan't something light weight, but in a respectible caliber, that I can throw over my shoulder for hunting in the scub hills and pine forests of the mountains of northern AZ, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado (the places it will be easy for me to hunt). You have a mix of LOOOONG range shots (I know guys who take 600+ yard shots every season), and under 100 yarders here, because the terrain is so varied.

My first choice is probably going to still be a .308 here (for ammo commonality and availability), though I have a strong attachment to the .270; but in either case, I'd want to keep my shots to 300 yards, and I don't think I'd use them on elk. Yes a .30-06 is going to give me more bullet weight options than either, but I have a lot of experience shooting the .308, and the .270 at medium game at 300-400 yards; I DON'T have a lot of experience with the '06 at anything like long range.

I think my number choice for MY mountain rifle is going to come down to something like a Remington 700 mountain rifle, a Winchester Model 70 featherweight, or a Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA ; or maybe if I can afford it, a Rem 700 Titanium . I'll be going for a matte stainless, matte blackened stainless if possible, and a composite stock, because I want all weather utility, and something damned near indestructible.

Basically all of these guns are available in... well just about any caliber I want, thoguh some versions arent in some calibers etc...

If I decided to go for elk, I'd probably still go for a nice lightweight rifle, but I'd pay the recoil and ammo cost penalty, and move into a 7mm mag. Yes, the .270 and .308 CAN and have taken many Elk, but I'd want jsut a LITTLE more insurance, just in case. In this class are also the .270 short magnums, and those seem like they may be useful choices, but I dont really see any advantage over the 7mag; where they share bullet weights (up to about 150gr), the .270 has a 10-40fps advantage, but the 7mm has factory loads available up to 175gr.

Anything MORE than the 7MM, would really be overkill. You don't need a .300 win mag or a .338 for Elk (unless you want to go out past 600 yards), and there's nothing bigger than an elk that I'm going to be hunting. Really the only reason I'd even consider the 7mag is for the extra 100 yards of safe range it's going to give me on a beast the size of wapiti.

A .308, or a .270, or an '06 for that matter (with a hot 200gr load for example) would probably do the job just as well up close; but you dont often get the chance to be within 300 yards without spooking the bastards, so that extra range is useful for Elk.

I think the biggest caliber I'm going to pick for game is the .300 win mag; and really I can't see a situation where I would be able to use it's additional capability over other options. If I were a tac team sniper I'd seriously consider it, and the .338 lapua magnum; becuase they are the ideal sniper cartridges at extended range, but I know my limitations. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking a shot on a deer or elk sized animal at over 600 yards; which is the farthest I've ever made a kill at, and also the farthest I can reliably shoot out to with good optics. I've made 800 yard shots on static targets; and even 1000 yard shots, but those are far more luck than anything else. I wouldn't ever consider making an 800 yard shot on game.

I can slow my heart rate and breathing down sufficiently, but I'm just simply not that still. The guys who can make those shots all day long are inhumanly still in their muscle and nerve structure.

Realistically, unless you are hunting bighorn at 500+ yards in high plains, or taking long mountain shots (and they ARE fairly common here in AZ, but I'm not going to be taking them); or of course going after Ursus Horriblus; I just don't see the need for anything over a .300 win mag anywhere in North America.

Dumb questions, and ignorant questions

On the forums that I moderate there are a lot of folks who ask a lot of dumb questions, and a few folks who keep asking ignorant questions...

THERE'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DUMB, AND IGNORANT QUESTIONS

A dumb question is where the question itself is basic or should be obvious, but you don't have the experience or resources necessary to answer it for yourself. An ignorant question is one that you have no right not knowing the answer to; either because it's already been given to you, or because it is so easy to find out.

When you ask a dumb question, you are just trying to learn; and the answers to dumb questions usually point you in the right direction for more learning on your own. I have a near unlimited tolerance for dumb questions, because answering a dumb question genuinely helps the person who asked it, and it isnt a huge amount of time and effort on my part to do so.

When you ask an ignorant question, you are insulting the people you are asking, because in effect you are saying "My time isn't worth wasting on making the effort to find out the answer to this, so I'm going to waste your time and effort to do it for me".

I have ZERO tolerance for ignorant questions. Answering an ignorant question is just an even bigger waste of time; because the person who asked it is not going to make any use of it, and will inevitably return with another ignorant question.